Heavens above: the best destinations for stargazing
4 December 2023
Consistently topping many of the ‘world’s best beaches’ lists, Brazil is particularly renowned for its coastline. With so much choice on offer, it can be hard to decide which destinations to visit. With the help of our local experts, discover these unmissable Brazilian beaches and islands on your next trip. Whether you want a relaxing getaway or a fun-filled coastal adventure, we’ve got you covered.
Located just 150 km outside Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande is the perfect island getaway. Literally translated as ‘Big Island’, it offers fantastic hikes ranging from 20-minute jaunts through the jungle, all the way up to four-day excursions circumnavigating the entire island. You’ll find several fantastic beaches across the island, each with their own vibe and appeal. If you favour seclusion, the peace and quiet of Parnaioca Beach can only be reached via a three-hour hike or a long boat journey. Alternatively, if you prefer convenience, equally-picturesque Lopes Mendes Beach is only a short boat ride away.
Another of Ilha Grande’s appeals is its close proximity to smaller neighbouring islands, making it a fabulous location for day excursions. Hop aboard a boat and enjoy freshly-made caipirinhas as you sail from one deserted islet to another, stopping off for a spot of snorkelling and sunbathing as you go.
Jericoacoara Beach, often shortened to ‘Jeri Beach’, is most likely Brazil’s most isolated coastal destination. Only reachable by a six- to seven-hour bus journey from the nearest city (Fortaleza), Jeri is famous for its glittering turquoise coastline backed by towering sand dunes which make for a bizarre yet beautiful landscape. It is also a great spot for those interested in windsurfing, kitesurfing sailing, and even dune surfing!
If you’re planning to visit Jericoacoara be sure to bring cash – there are no ATMs available – as well as any products (such as medicines or toiletries) you think you may need. Keep in mind that due to its isolated location, there are few well-stocked shops in Jericoacoara, and the nearest hospital is three hours away.
Fernando de Noronha is the name given to the archipelago of 21 islands found off the coast of northeast Brazil. Roughly 70% of the archipelago is a protected national marine park and the surrounding waters are abundant with sea turtles, dolphins, rays and sharks, making it a great destination for those interested in snorkelling and diving with a variety of species.
If you prefer to keep your feet on land, spend an afternoon relaxing on the shores of Praia do Sancho, consistently voted Brazil’s best beach. A peaceful cove bordered by striking cliff faces and cerulean water, it can only be reached by first climbing down two incredibly steep ladders which reach a total of 100 ft. This might sound off-putting but grit your teeth, don’t look down, and we promise you the payoff is worth it.
Arguably one of Brazil’s busiest beaches, Copacabana is possibly a bit of a marmite affair… However, we have chosen to include this famous destination as it is worth a visit for people-watching alone, with all walks of life descending upon the 4 km stretch of sand everyday. Not only this, but the lively atmosphere and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills (including Sugarloaf Mountain) are enough to win anyone over.
Porto de Galinhas is just 60 km away from the popular Brazilian city of Recife, making it a very accessible coastal paradise. Made popular by the natural pools created when the tide is out, this beach is ideal for travellers with children who want a safe place for them to swim. The tidal pools create mini-aquariums by temporarily catching colourful fish – watch them dart back and forth as you float in the warm water.
Porto de Galinhas is less isolated than some of the other beaches on this list, yet it is no less paradisaical. With many surrounding restaurants and resorts to choose from here, you have the option of staying right by the beach for several days and will be well catered for.
Ilha do Campeche is only a short 30-minute boat ride off the coast of southern Brazil and has an almost-Caribbean vibe, with white sunbaked sand and swaying palm trees framed by a still, blue sea. It is not possible to venture off the beach without a guide as the island is an important archaeological site, home to numerous ancient paintings dotted throughout its landmass. These paintings date back to prehistoric times and if you’re interested in ancient history, then Ilha do Campeche provides the perfect excuse to combine a relaxing beach trip with a tour of the island’s past.
Praia do Rosa is a 7 km stretch of sand in Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, well-known for its brilliant surfing opportunities. Amidst the numerous surf schools nearby, you’ll find plenty of options even for beginners – but if water sports aren’t your thing, the waters surrounding the beach are also ideal for whale-watching. See if you can catch a glimpse of a breaching southern right whale, known for its playful and inquisitive nature, as you enjoy one of the many boat excursions on offer in the area.
If Brazil‘s beaches and islands are calling your name, be sure to get in touch with one of our local experts today. They can help you plan your dream Brazilian itinerary, with as much or as little beach time as you like.